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John Kao: Innovation Nation meets Nonprofit Networks

I really thought this was a good presentation on innovation process and practice.  I like how it resonates on personal experience level and how it bumps up against the network design issues and the paradoxes of building network power and performance to create intentional change.

First, the discussion fits well with the type of work I do with partners.  It is interesting to see John focus on the conceptual clarity and need to ask and queue up the right questions.   Partners often balk at the really important part of the work that is focused on syncing up the network vision and our efforts with the current contexts and realities that are buffering and shaping the context.

Second, this presentation bumps into the system and process questions at the network level. What systems do we have in place that actually DESTROY innovation at scale across groups and in an issue and advocacy network ? How can networks innovate? How can networks be supported in innovation process? I find it interesting that John limits this conversation and thinking (national or organizational level) to centralized planners and individual examples.  John provides the right process (everyone knows the process, set of practices that work well, leads to value) but how does it scale to a distributed innovation by a network of allied activists?  

How does a movement of 50 years get to a "beginners mind"? How do set process of leaders, foundations, donors and the most accomplished advocates ask new questions and direct the jazz band of change by adopting the Miles Davis "don't say to much" leadership?

Thanks to Momentum for posting the videos.

Engagement without Joining - Youth Vision

It is tragic that we don't have intentional efforts to drive power, leadership, budgets and responsibility into the hands and power of tested, smart and emerging young leaders.   They are interested in engagement without joining. Why do most of the models for engagement include "joining and membership" vs action, output and results of conversation.

The youth are not interested in

  • joining
  • becoming member
  • movement's that have delivered the current world to their door.
They are interested in 
  • power
  • freedom
  • justice
  • global perspectives
  • engagement and voice

Energy Action Coalition continues to pump new ideas and insights into the drive and trends they see on the ground with young diverse and mobilized base. There is good insight into the language, channels and rhythms of youth leadership that are very important to heed.


Facebook as a Financial Platform?

There are big changes going on at facebook that will reshape the ways nonprofits will be able to use and leverage the platform.  The biggest of these changes is the launch of some “gift” tools for your social network. These changes seem little at first “who cares if you can buy a song for a friend” but anyone that watched ITunes, Skype, Amazon and online donations scale up realizes that getting people to cough up credit card for credits is the biggest hurdle in ultimately freeing people from money.

The more that facebook users get used to buying little bits of things online, using their credits, and making transactions online the easier it will be to help them convert facebook relationships into channels for sending money to your charity and campaign.

I expect online donations to charities and groups with “pages” will grow proportionally with the amount of total exchanges on facebook. So seeing them add features like the new “buy a song” for a friend will be a big boost to those of us that look to facebook as a space for organizing relationships with people that use if like the way traditional users focused on their inbox.

While you can currently purchase gifts from non-profits, like Kiva, Project Red, TOMS Shoes, Charity Water and the World Wildlife Fund, Facebook is now also including gifts via the Causes application. So you can make donations to a cause as a gift for your friends for pretty much any cause supported through the app.

Facebook’s Gift Shop Sings A New Tune


Sean Parker: Twitter/Facebook Will Soon Dominate The Web — Not Google.

This resonates with Clay Shirky, Beth Kanter and a bunch of riffs here on network-centric advocacy.  Connecting people is taking over as the major service of the web.    Newspapers provided information. Advocacy groups exist to connect people to each other. Connecting people with more than just text is the big leap. Connect people with voice, video and images. Connecting people to work, laugh, collaborate and create change is the golden opportunity of the next 10 years.

 

Parker believes we’re shifting from the first phase of the Internet, which was dominated by what he calls “information services” These are companies like Google and Yahoo. But next up to dominate the web will be the “network services” like Facebook and Twitter, he believes.

To be clear, he thinks Google will stay huge and relevant, but it’s dominance will go down because collecting data is less valuable than connecting people, he said.

He went on to talk a bit about the social networking space, which is significant because he helped found Facebook.

Sean Parker: Twitter/Facebook Will Soon Dominate The Web — Not Google.

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Benkler Channel: Remove the Planner without removing the capacity to plan.

Benkler is amazing.  He says things that most of us spend time trying to argue. Complexity and Reach make planning impossible. (BOOM) It always has been but now it is more clear and more important to accept (BOOM). (min 20+...he is on fire)

This is a really rich talk with important nods to the role of motivated people, fairness and group identity in these network models. I see his work as much less related to workplace economics and more related to advocacy and social planning.

I still see the reflection of the seven elements of network functionality in his work. I really like the idea that common language and negotiating "fairness" in the network are linked.

"Life is to complex to settle on the simple model".  He is going after the economic tracking and design model for assessing output capacity and deviation without a centralized planner. Congratulations!  

The rest of us should be working on this in climate change work, agriculture policy, health reform, and the rest of the progressive agenda.


The Network Maps: Traffic Data and Solutions to Prevent Economic Collapse

The thinking about network maps and traffic data as a management tool is catching on even in finance. They really are one of the few ways to understand complex systems.

This is where Brunnermeier had his insight: What if I knew the relationship between one bank's value-at-risk and the value-at-risk of the entire industry? Then I could see how one institution's problem spills over to other institutions, and I could focus on the institutions that seem to be at the source of these problems. The data, collected not only from banks but also from hedge funds and insurance companies, would have immediate implications for the firms' activities. If the data pointed toward a risk pocket during a crisis, the firms would have to stop taking on new risks and stockpile more cash. If groups of firms started to show similar vulnerabilities, computers and human supervisors would see these patterns, ideally before they got out of hand.

The Network | The New Republic


Super Crunchers : The Future of Advocacy Evolution?

No more experts and intuition. Look at the data trends. Storage to $0 and processing power out the wazoo available for everyone.   What massive datasets do you have? What data sets can you create with a little investment.


Here are some applets that give you a sense of the kinds of things that Super Crunching can help predict. Use them at your own risk (The lawyer in me feels compelled to emphasize that I make no representation as to their accuracy). .

No Excitement About Recovery on Facebook

I have been hunting around for data like “google flu” those shadows cast by real people doing things that provide insight on big trends. I was looking at Facebook Lexicon to see what trend data could show.

I would imagine many people post something about “new job” or their friends congratulate them on “new jobs” via facebook. So I punched it into Lexicon.

You can see the Facebook crowd mirrored the economic collapse with some variation there is just not that many folks posting about “new job” on facebook.   I assume when we see this line start to climb, we will know the job part of the recovery has started.

 

image

 

Make sure to use these tools to access the trends in data that impact your campaign efforts. I find these as interesting insights into the language to use (new jobs is how people talk about it “unemployment” doesn’t even register), the traction major themes are getting (see old post on health care).


God's Eye View. Replace Folk Wisdom with Data

Games that generate data and change behavior.  Alex Pentland is not only thinking about network behavior but starting to look at it and measure it.  He looks at the "fabric of communication" beyond language that we used to coordinate and communicate for all those years before language developed.  This is a really interesting riff and quick introduction to the concepts in his book.